Music, Art, and Movement

School-Based Martial Arts Programs Revisited

School Based Programs Revisited

My last article spoke briefly about afterschool enrichment programs as well as curriculum based programs during the school day. I’d like to discuss more about afterschool enrichment programs this month and next month cover curriculum based programs that are included in a child’s IEP.

Swimming:  A Life-saving Skill

Most parents are aware that swimming is a lifesaving skill that must be taught at an early age.  Sadly, drowning remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children between one and fourteen years of age, and children with intellectual challenges are at an even higher risk.  As an alarming statistic, drowning is the number one leading cause of death of children with autism.

School-Based Programs

Today I’d like to bring your attention to martial arts programs that may be available to your child during their day before they even get home!

Music & Special Needs: Cooper Plays the Piano

Ten-year-old Cooper is teaching his twin brother to play Hot Cross Buns on the piano. Cooper, who has Down syndrome, has been playing the piano since he was 8 ½ years old.  I ask him how his brother is doing. Cooper says: “I showed him how to use three fingers to play Hot Cross Buns. He is doing okay.”  There is a proud smile on his face.  His mother says: "Cooper has always been the one who holds back with his brother in the lead, but now he is the leader, and it is so nice to see the confidence building that has occurred."  

Teen with Down Syndrome Wows Basketball Team

David Andrews, age 18, wears number 40 on the Germantown High School basketball team, just outside of Memphis, TN. Much like the Knick’s Jeremy Lin, Andrews spent quite a bit of time warming the bench during his team’s games before ever getting to play in one.

Andrews has Down syndrome, and his mother had asked coach Wes Crump if her son could join the team his brother was already on. She thought maybe he could get a sweat suit and hang out with the other players on the bench. But Andrews soon proved that he had much more to offer the team. 

YogAbility for People with Disabilities

Jerry is a tall, lanky 19-year-old with autism and gastro-intestinal issues. He began coming to YogAbility, a nonprofit organization, 10 years ago. He used to have frequent tantrums, screaming fits, and wore a protective helmet. Since he began yoga therapy, Jerry has grown tremendously in the way he communicates with people. He is more grounded. He even does poses on his own at home.

Special Needs Karate: Is Money the Big Factor

Thanks for coming back to my monthly article for children with special needs and karate. I hope to bring you closer to understanding the multitude of benefits the martial arts bring to our children.

Over the years I’ve found myself answering the same questions day after day when a parent walks in or calls for information. What I’ve found is that most ask about cost right from the start and then about class times, but almost always I am the one trying to convey the many benefits we provide during the discussion.

13-Year-Old Singer Has a Special Needs Cause

Not every 13-year-old girl with a powerful singing voice gets the opportunity to record it on an album. It is even less likely that she would have a single written for her by a noted producer. Rarer than that is when that girl wants to give a percentage of her album earnings to a special needs charity. It seems that Shayla D, who embodies all these things, is truly remarkable. Shayla’s father, Bobby Degregorio, certainly thinks so.

Why Martial Arts Are Best for Special Needs

It’s no secret that a traditional martial arts program is one of the best extracurricular activities a child can participate in.  For children with special needs the benefits are invaluable because of the inherit structure and discipline the arts bring to a child’s daily life. All children need structure, some more than others. Some might need to be reminded more often or a different approach might be necessary, but in the end it's all the same.

Benefits of Yoga for Special Needs Children

What are the benefits of yoga for children with special needs? What is a special needs yoga class like? Is your child expected to lie still on a mat? These are questions that Alex Newell, voted LAFamily.com’s Yoga Teacher of 2010, is happy to answer. As a senior instructor at Yoga Stars in Santa Monica, Newell has been helping to design a yoga program for children and teens with special needs. Recently she began doing classes with highly functioning students with autism (ages 11-16) at some local schools.